Some Facebook users may not need that cardboard voting booth this year -- CNN and Facebook are partnering up to put that bright social media spotlight on voting in the 2012 election.
The media behemoths announced the partnership today, which includes a "I'm Voting" Facebook app that lets users commit to voting while endorsing specific candidates and issues. The commitments will then be displayed on users' timelines, news feeds and real-time tickers.
The app, which will be available in English and Spanish, will show which of your Facebook friends also supported the issue or candiate you voted for. The information will be displayed on an interactive map and topped off with CNN personalities using the app to ask Facebook users questions and report the answers.
The companies will also survey voters on Facebook and use metrics to provide stats social media stats on President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and presidential candidate Mitt Romney (and whoever the Republican vice presidential candidate will be).
While Facebook has long been used as a political tool -- many noted how social media gave Obama an advantage when he ran in 2008 -- and a way to promote one's causes, but this takes an official stab at voting transparency. And Facebook is big on transparency. The social network has also partnered with Politico for this year's elections, allowing the news site to mine the social network for voter sentiments.
Voters can also now choose to have their decisions broadcast across their social network and used in election news coverage in a very direct way. It may be unnerving for some -- including myself -- to think about telling the world how they voted because it's traditionally a private act. So it will be interesting to see how many people welcome the time on their virtual soapbox. In my experience, people often share who they voted for or what they voted for while at dinner parties (or barbecues or pingpong parties -- I've never actually been to a dinner party), but now it's on a grander scale.